A graveyard beneath our feet: if you are on a sidewalk, it was once an apartment, a storefront; a tree once stood there. Not one or the other. But layers upon forgotten layers. Before Disney Hall, there were the slums of Bunker Hill, and before the slums there was middle class Bunker Hill, and even before all that there were beautiful mansions, where the wealthy strolled in carriages and on horseback and their houses were tall and turreted and trimmed in fine paint. As an Angeleno, we tend not to acknowledge the past, we like our here and now. But today’s view from City Hall is different; the streets seem to twist in other directions. The only thing the same are the mountains—and we can move those too.

The American photojournalist Leonard Nadel was hired by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) to make a photographic record of living conditions in both the slums and the new housing projects that were built in Los Angeles during and right after World War II. I took the mirror images in the summer of 2011.We determined the aerial image of Bunker Hill must have been taken from some vantage point, such as City Hall. After some stealth moves on my part, security let us up to the observation deck to take the shot. We’re looking northwest, 2nd street tunnel can be seen in both images, as well as its neighboring parking lot and the smog covered Santa Monica Mountains in the horizon.

The second image is from a postcard collection. It was taken during 1932 Olympics, which were in Los Angeles. My image is taken from the same location as the original, on 7th street and Broadway, very near an original Cliffton’s cafeteria (which is scheduled for an extensive renovation).